Jump directly to the Content

10 Things We Learned about Medicine and Illness in Bible Times

Insights for Covidtide from “The Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity.”
10 Things We Learned about Medicine and Illness in Bible Times
Image: Freepik / Envato

The Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity, released as a 1,818-page behemoth in 2017, is one of those books you get lost in for hours in “does this still count as sermon prep?” mode. In Covidtide, we’ve been popping into R. K. Harrison and Edwin Yamauchi’s entry on “Medicine and Physicians.” Here’s some cool stuff we learned:

  1. The Old Testament doesn’t include a single reference to a doctor or medicine healing the sick.
  2. By contrast, references to physicians in the Mishnah and Talmud are very positive. (Well, there is the line that “The best among physicians is destined for Gehenna” and the listing of physician among “the trades of robbers.”)
  3. Rabbis counted 248 “limbs” in the human body and 365 “sinews,” corresponding to the 248 positive commandments and 365 negative ones.
  4. Paul calls Luke “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14), but the writer doesn’t use any special medical vocabulary in his gospel or in Acts, despite their many healing stories.
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Attachment Disorder Churches
Attachment Disorder Churches
If your people won't follow, it may be the result of past abandonment.
From the Magazine
She Was Captured by the Taliban in 2001. But God Gave Her a Bigger Story.
She Was Captured by the Taliban in 2001. But God Gave Her a Bigger Story.
Q&A with Heather Mercer who went on to work for freedom in Kurdistan and adopt a Kurdish son.
Editor's Pick
Can This Texas Pastor Lay Hands on an Inmate During Execution?
Can This Texas Pastor Lay Hands on an Inmate During Execution?
Q&A with SBC minister Dana Moore on the power of prayer in a state death chamber.
close